Life with a painful start and great success
Early Beginnings and its Agony with a painful experience
I was born in Rwanda-Kigali to the parents of two boys. I am from the Tutsi tribe which became the target of the 1994 brutal Rwandan genocide which left 800,000 people dead.
Because I was still very young at that time, the genocide had a devastating impact on my life and left me traumatized for a very long time.
The term genocide refers to acts of violence against a national, ethnic, racial or religious group with the sole intent to destroy it. Such was the case in my beautiful country.
Rwanda is a landlocked country in East-central Africa which has a current population of approximately 11 million people. Rwanda, which is about a third the size of Belgium, has been described as “a tropical Switzerland in the heart of Africa”.
In the 1800s, during the colonization of Rwanda by Germany and later Belgium, the Belgian colonists
created a system of racial classification between the country’s three tribes, the Hutu, Tutsi and Twa. They determined whether a person was Hutu, Tutsi of Twa based on the size and shape of a person’s nose and the color of their eyes.
The Belgians considered the Tutsi to be a superior group because they were “more white and European looking”.
The Hutus who made up 85% of the population were considered inferior to the Tutsis who comprised 15 % of the population and the Twa who represented 1%.
The Tutsis were granted an education and were placed in positions of authority, while the Hutus were denied an education, leadership positions, land ownership and positions in government.
These issues created discord and conflict between the Tutsis and the Hutus.
What Really Happened which many people never know
When the Tutsis pushed for independence in the 1950s, before the end of colonization, the colonists incited the Hutus to oppose the Tutsis.
In 1959, the Hutus overthrew the ruling Tutsi king. Rwanda became an independent republic and the first Hutu president was elected.
In the following years, conflicts continued between the Tutsis and the Hutus.
Thousands of Tutsis were massacred, and thousands more were driven into exile. In 1993 a peace treaty was signed to end the fighting between the Hutus and the Tutsis, but it did nothing to stop the continued unrest.
On April 6th, 1994 Rwanda’s President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, along with the President of Burundi,aTutsi,were killed when their plane was shot down just as it was about to land at Kigali Airport.
It is said that Hutu revolutionaries who did not agree with the peace treaty were behind the attack.
Peace Tragedy in between
The signing of the peace treaty by President Habyarimana weakened the Hutu power and opened up government positions to the Tutsis.
This greatly upset the Hutu revolutionaries. The assassination of President Habyarimana was a plot by members of a Hutu revolutionary group called the Akazu, many of whom occupied top government positions. The plot was to murder the president,blame
the Tutsis for the assassination and massacre the Tutsis.
The genocide began on April 7 1994, the day afterthe president’s assassination and lasted for 100 days. In the end, almost 1 million people, Tutsis along with some Hutus who supported the Tutsis, werebrutally
The peace keeping mission in dalema
On April 7th in Kigali, the presidential guard murdered the prime minister and leaders of the political opposition, and almost immediately after this, the massacre began.
Ten Belgian U.N. peacekeepers tried to protect the prime minister, and they too were murdered. This caused the UN to withdraw itspeacekeeping troops from Rwanda leaving people feeling defenseless.
The initial instigators of the genocide were politicians, businessmen and army officials, but within hours many others joined in the massacre.
Two Hutu militias were mobilized by political parties for this purpose: the Interahamwe (“those who strike as one”) and the Impuzamugambi (“those who have the same goal”).
Recruits were dispatched throughout the country to carry out the horrific slaughter. Many of them were just boys.
The average Hutu were incited to kill the Tutsi. If a Hutu refused to take part in the slaughter,the Interahamwe would give them a choice….. either kill or be killed.
The forces behind the reality of things
Those who chose to participate in the genocide were often given money or food as an incentive. Some were told that they would acquire property and land owned by the Tutsis theymurdered.
The RTLM (Radio Télévison des Milles Collines) took a significant role in the slaughter and encouraged the killing of the Tutsis.
They broadcasted coded messages such as “cut down the tall trees,” a phrase which meant for the Hutus to start killing the Tutsis (the tall trees).
In their broadcasts the RTLM often used the word inyenzi (which means “cockroach”) when referring to Tutsis and then told the Hutus to “crush the cockroaches.”
The broadcasts also announced the names of specific persons who should be killed and also released information about where to find them.
A true life Story of painful mass killings in Rwanda
Thus continues in the next post